The Family in God’s Plan
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995)
Families are the central unit of society and of the Mormon Church. Marriage and the rearing of children are commandments from God for all mankind. The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to have a family (see Genesis 1:28). That commandment is still in force.
Marriage between a man and a woman is essential for our happiness in this life. It is in the home that we learn our first lessons about morality, about God, and how to be good members of society. Of all relationships, the marriage and familial relationships are the most enduring and can endure all the way into eternity.
Our families on earth should be a reflection of the divine family of which we are all a part. We are all children of divine parents who love us and have given us this earth on which to grow and develop. Our families likewise should be based upon love and care for one another. The Mormon Church provides many resources to help spouses and families grow strong. The proclamation quoted above further teaches us that,
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
A phrase commonly heard from Mormons is, “Families can be together forever.” Through the power of the Holy Priesthood, a husband and wife can be married for time and eternity in the temple. Mormons refer to this as a sealing, or an eternal marriage.
We should also strengthen our families to prepare them for this life and for eternal life. One Mormon leader has said the most important work any of us will ever do is within the walls of our own home. Family life should be an important part of our lives. Members of the Mormon Church are encouraged to set aside special time devoted to strengthening family relationships. Family Home Evening is a program encouraged by the Mormon Church in which families devote at least one night a week, usually Monday, to spending time together. During family home evenings, parents and children should study the gospel together, discuss other important topics like emergency preparedness or even cultural themes like history or music. The missionaries can help teach you how to hold your own family home evening.
Families should also try to find other times during the week to meet together. Family prayer is an important part of having a strong and close family. Husbands and wives should also pray together regularly. Families can also study the scriptures together daily. All of these are excellent teaching opportunities to bring families closer together and teach children important values and beliefs.
Through prayer, gospel study, family home evenings, and family outings, whether it be camping, visiting a museum, traveling across country, or just having a picnic in the local park, children and parents can bond, and lessons can be shared. As parents, you have wisdom from your own experiences that your children need to hear, and children, even though they will not always admit it, want to be guided through the trials of growing up.